How HR Can Improve Communication with Employees

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Even before the pandemic, employees often had the perception that Human Resources teams worked for the C-suite. Therefore, employees could not completely trust HR. More than ever, however, HR needs to transform its image. After all, HR sets the tone for applicants, new hires, and veterans of the organization. In many ways, HR has the power to realign the stars for those businesses battling to win the talent war. 

The first step to victory is improving communication. People need to know who you are, what the company stands for, and exactly what they are jumping into when they accept an offer. And employees need to feel some sense of security about their workplace. It’s more important than ever, in fact.

At the moment, the only certainty is uncertainty. Honest HR teams can help put people’s minds at ease or at least prepare them if you have bad news. 

READ: Millennials Want Better Pay and Benefits, Not Perks

“It’s also imperative for leaders to be transparent about the company’s challenges and financial situation,” according to SHRM. “Employees don’t expect leaders to immediately have all the answers to a company’s challenges, but they do expect them to be forthright about any difficulties and to be truthful about when answers can be expected.”

Discover some ways you can improve communication with employees: 

Well-defined Roles

Without clearly defined job descriptions, applicants cannot make informed decisions about where to apply or whether to accept a job. Things get worse for employees, who need to know the expectations of their employer. They, of course, want to know how to be successful and grow within the company. When the job descriptions veers wildly, employees might get resentful or uneasy.  Confusion about job roles can lead to low morale and productivity. 

Define the Culture

People talk about fit all the time. But you may find that it is hard to actually explain the culture of a place in a nuanced way. HR leaders can spend time cultivating a culture and putting it into words, so they can explain it both to recruits, applicants, and employees. 

There is one caveat with culture. Companies can end up hiring a homogenous team, according to the BBC. Diversity is key to success, so leaders must pay careful attention when determining the culture. They should make sure it isn’t about hiring the same kinds of people. Rather, it should be a description of the company’s mission and values. 

Get Leadership to Talk 

A number of companies, including IBM, began having C-suite executives, including the CEO regularly check in with employees during the pandemic. The point is to set the tone from the top. Knowing what is on the mind of the top executives can help guide employees. It is also a form of role modeling. If they’re communicating, middle managers will communicate. People will feel more comfortable being open. 

Tell People as Much as You Can

Often, companies are quiet about everything. No one knows what’s truly happening. It can can cause anxiety and confusion. The best way to handly any situation, even the challenging ones, is to share as much information as you can. After all, the unknown is what makes situations seem scarier.  

“Leaders should show employees that they understand what’s hard about a situation,” according to SHRM. “Be careful not to minimize problems or give them a positive spin. Don’t feel pressured to find a solution, either.”

READ: 10 Employee Retention Strategies for the Great Resignation Era

Make Onboarding a Priority

Onboarding is the first entry a new hire has to a company. It is important to open the lines of communication. Ask the new hires how they feel frequently. Check in to make sure they are getting the necessary training and that they know the processes and procedures that will help them succeed. 

When new hires are onboarding, they are interested in learning about the company history, values, and goals. This is the time to talk about what it means to work for this place and where employees fit into the picture. 

Being more transparent and sharing as much information as you can with employees can put their minds at ease. They will not be left to fill in the blanks with worst case scenarios. Also, they can realistically plan for their future and understand their place in the organization. Even when facing difficult challenges, HR leaders should be open and honest. Good communication is one of the most important tools in recruitment and retention strategy.

What are your biggest communication challenges? Continue the conversation on LinkedIn or Twitter.  

Photo by RF._.studio for Pexels

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